2020/07/31

A Better Model

This generation chart was brought to my attention on Twitter:

Generation XYZ

On the plus side, this model includes Generation Y. On the downside, it makes the common mistake of identifying Gen Y with the Millennials. A closer look also shows the tail end of Generation Jones appended to Generation X, the usual misidentification of Gen Y as "Late Gen X", and the same blurring of the line between the Millennials and the Zoomers.

B- for effort.

I took the liberty of correcting the overwrought model above according to my painstaking generational research.

Here's the result:

Generation XYMZ

Much cleaner, more efficient, and communicates the key ideas at a glance. Not only is this model more rhetorically sound, it conveys age demographic facts more effectively.

The next time confusion arises as to when Generation Z began, or someone denies that Gen Y exists, share this handy infographic.

And as always, don't give money to people who hate you!

Don't Give Money to People Who Hate You - Brian Niemeier

2020/07/30

Pulp Mindset

The Pulp Mindset: J.D. Cowan

Author JD Cowan returns with a practical guide to navigating the sometimes stormy waters of NewPub at pulp speed!

From the Amazon product description:
Out with the Old, in with the NewPub
Nobody reads anymore. In an age where audiences consume more art than ever before, books have remained irrelevant to the ever-changing West. Nothing seems to change this unavoidable reality. The industry is over.
Or is it?
A new frontier has opened where anything goes! We live in a pulp landscape now, a place where the past and present comes together to create a better future. In this book you will learn just what this NewPub world is, how to adapt to it, and change the way you think about everything.
The Rules Have Changed!
You can do anything! The Pulp Mindset will help you adapt to this crazy climate and become the best artist you can be. Read on and join the revolution!
What readers said:
What The Pulp Mindset is about is: what do we do going forward? I say we, even though I am not a writer of fiction, which seems to be the primary intended audience, because I am broadly in support of Cowan’s mission to add more escapism and fun into fiction. Cowan’s prescription for doing so is to write more like authors from the Pulp Era: fast-paced action, good guys and bad guys, and above all entertain the reader.
-Benjamin Espen
The publishing landscape is changing so quickly, it can be hard to keep up--especially if you're an aspiring author. In this book, JD highlights perennial writing rules that have won universal appreciation from readers.

Learn the rules. Master the game. Read The Pulp Mindset now!

UPDATE: JD Cowan gets his first orange tag. Well done, stalwart readers!

Pulp Mindset Orange Tag


2020/07/29

The Vanishing of Ambrose Bierce

Ambrose Bierce

To call Ambrose Bierce a writer would be an understatement. This famous--some might say infamous--author, journalist, solider, and adventurer left a mark on American culture comparable only to the likes of Poe, Lovecraft, Greeley, and Twain.

His Devil's Dictionary skewered official and media doubletalk a century before the politically correct crowd's drive to deform language began in earnest.

Perhaps the most fitting capstone to Bierce's brilliant, stormy life is its dubious end.

Ambrose Bierce was born in 1842 in a log cabin. He had twelve siblings, all of whose names began with the letter A.

Bierce enlisted in the Union Army at the outset of the Civil War, seeing action at Philippi, Shiloh, and Kennesaw Mountain. He enjoyed a distinguished military career marked by citations for courage under fire and recommendations from generals George H. Thomas, Oliver O. Howard, and William T. Sherman.

Yet the war stripped Bierce of all faith in mankind. A brain injury received in the line of duty exacerbated his darkening outlook on life.

Bierce retired from the Army with the brevet rank of Major and took up his pen as a newspaperman in San Francisco. There he wrote a long-running column for notorious media mogul William Randolph Hearst. His scathing satire aroused much controversy, especially a poem published in 1900 which appeared to predict William McKinley's assassination one year later.

A commensurate literary marvel occurred when Bierce produced the bulk of his short story output in a single torrent lasting from 1888-1891. Largely unappreciated at the time, Bierce's gloomy, visceral oeuvre of human frailty stands as a bookend to Lovecraft's body of impersonal cosmic horror. In this light, Lovecraft could be seen as the Plato of American horror and Bierce the Aristotle.

Following the dissolution of a family life as tempestuous and tragic as his military career, Bierce relocated to Washington, D.C. The move would set the stage for the final and most mysterious chapter of his uncanny life.

In 1913 at the age of seventy-one, Bierce left his home in Washington and embarked upon a tour of Civil War battlefields. The story goes that he crossed into Mexico at El Paso and joined up with Pancho Villa to experience the Mexican Revolution firsthand.

If contemporary accounts are to be believed, the experience would prove fatal.

No one knows what happened to Bierce. He was last seen alive in the city of Chihuahua. A final letter, purported by Bierce's secretary to have been written on the second day of Christmas, 1913, is often quoted as saying, "As to me, I leave here tomorrow for an unknown destination."

He was never seen again.

Speculation over Bierce's fate has raged from that day onward. Multiple investigations by American officials produced nebulous results. Those of Villa's men who cooperated only gave Bierce's last known location as Chihuahua.

Fr. James Leinert recorded the persistent story told in Coahuila of Bierce's execution by firing squad in the cemetery at Sierra Mojada.

Skeptic Joe Nickell argues that Bierce never ventured into Mexico at all, citing his worsening asthma, atrophied riding skills, and criticism of Villa. He points out that the letters supposedly establishing Bierce's presence there have long since been destroyed, and we have only his secretary's word that they ever existed.

Some say Bierce took his own life. As a staunch agnostic who resolutely denied Christ's divinity, riding out and shooting himself in a lonely stretch of desert would seem the ultimate logical conclusion of his bleak worldview.

Or, just perhaps, the facetious accounts of Bierce's prophetic gifts had a ring of truth, and he saw the 20th century coming.

The only certainty is that we'll never know. Let us content ourselves with enjoying this adaptation of Bierce's classic "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" in the great man's honor.

2020/07/28

Dragon Con Interview

Dragon Con Logo

Recently the folks at Dragon Con interviewed a number of Dragon Award-winning authors, including me, They asked a series of writing-related questions via email and will be showcasing various authors' answers in a series of posts on their web site.

Here are some highlights from their first post.
Now in its sixth year, the Dragon Con hosted Dragon Awards has proven to be the defining “must” list for the greatest in genre novels, media, comics, and games. While the world is locked inside, members and fans have turned to past award winners to build their reading lists.
We reached out to eight winners and asked them to talk about their award-winning novels, their other works, the Dragon Awards ceremony, and what they have coming up that they would like to share. We are sharing their responses over this three-part interview series. Those winners are:

  • Claudia Gray, 2018 winner of Best Media Tie-In Novel with Leia: Princess of Alderaan; 2017 nominee in Best Young Adult with Defy the Stars; 2019 nominee in Best Media Tie-In Novel with Master & Apprentice
  • S.M. Stirling, 2019 winner of Best Alternate History Novel with Black Chamber; 2016 nominee in Best Apocalyptic Novel with The Desert and the Blade; 2018 nominee in Best Alternate History Novel with The Sea Peoples
  • Nick Cole, 2016 winner of Best Apocalyptic Novel with Ctrl Alt Revolt!; 2019 co-nominee in Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel with Order of the Centurion (written with Jason Anspach)
  • Brian Niemeier, 2016 winner of Best Horror Novel with Souldancer; 2017 nominee in Best Science Fiction Novel with The Secret Kings
  • Richard Fox, 2017 winner of Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel with Iron Dragoons
  • Larry Correia, 2016 winner of Best Fantasy Novel with Son of the Black Sword; 2017 winner of Best Fantasy Novel with Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge (written with John Ringo); 2019 winner of Best Fantasy Novel with House of Assassins
  • Kevin J. Anderson, 2018 winner of Best Alternate History Novel with Uncharted (written with Sarah A. Hoyt)
  • Harry Turtledove, 2017 winner of Best Alternate History Novel with Fallout: The Hot War; 2016 nominee in Best Alternate History Novel with Bombs Away: The Hot War

All entertainment-focused. All best sellers. Much better company than the latest round of World Con participant ribbon winners. It's no wonder that the Dragons have supplanted the Hugos as greater sci fi fandom's go-to reading list.

The Dragon winners' answers to one question in particular sheds some light on why:
... what drives you to do what you do? What makes you an award-winning author and not a corporate executive or bricklayer?
Richard Fox: Why am I a full-time writer? Because my writing pays the bills. I write to get stories out of my head and there’s really no end to what’s available for me to write. Plus, it’s so much fun! I get to sit down and plot out an intricate storyline and bring that to fruition. On occasion, I’ll get a message from a reader thanking me for making their morning commute that much more bearable, or a doctor telling me they read my books to unwind from their job. Knowing that readers and listeners enjoy my stories so much is the best thing, really. I write to entertain, and that’s always first and foremost when I’m at work. 
Brian Niemeier: There’s no such thing as an aspiring writer. We’re defined by what we repeatedly do. You could be the world’s biggest music enthusiast, know the workings of a piano inside and out, and have every piece of sheet music ever composed committed to memory, but you’re not a pianist until you sit down and actually play the piano with skill. I’m a writer because I write as a matter of habit with skill. 
Claudia Gray: It’s actually hard for me to answer this, because I was never truly “driven” to do anything else. I DID do a lot of something elses, from law to marketing to journalism, but this is the only work that’s ever compelled me. It’s the best job I’ve ever had.
Read the rest here.

And be sure to read the Dragon Award-winning horror-adventure novel Souldancer!

Souldancer - Brian Niemeier

2020/07/27

Christ Is King

America is still a Christian country--at least sentimentally--as a poll at Unz indicates.

Christians

The two real shockers in these results are Christians' relatively low favorability numbers among Hispanics and their surprisingly high rating with Democrats.

If more than two-thirds of Dems are honestly positive toward Christianity, it would mean that the Death Cult are indeed a minority of Democrats.

And speaking of tiny--in fact, rapidly shrinking--minorities ...

atheists

It's official. Nobody likes atheists.

Which should surprise no one when you consider that 90% of Americans believe in a higher power, that Western morality is founded on Christian moral principles, and that atheists explicitly reject that foundation.

It's hard to trust someone who rejects the main basis for social trust.

Atheists clearly don't trust themselves, either, since their predilection for voting Democrat means they support their own replacement by members of ethnic groups that overwhelmingly prefer Christians to them.

Proving once again that Christians are better Darwinists than atheists are.

Christ is King!


The Death Cult may be small, but they make up for numbers with volume. Learn how to break free of their snares and have fun while you're at it!

Don't Give Money to People Who Hate You - Brian Niemeier

2020/07/24

When Did America Die?

America Judgment

Each day, more people wake up to the fact that, "How can we save America?" is a pointless question. America is already a corpse. Many of us have finally noticed that it's stopped twitching.

A better question is, "When did America die?"

Was it last year, when Trump signed the spending bill?

What about George W. Bush's invasion of Afghanistan, allegedly a response to 9/11, which kicked off US involvement in the Forever War?

Was it in 1998, when Bill Clinton was impeached by the House but acquitted by the Senate?

How about Reagan's 1986 amnesty?

For that matter, what about the Hart-Celler Immigration Act of 1965?

Or all the excesses of FDR's imperial style presidency?

1920 was the year when American men inexplicably gave women the franchise.

What about Wilson involving America in World War I?

Was it in 1913 with the ratification of the 16th Amendment, which gave Congress the power to tax incomes without apportionment?

Many mark America's time of death as 1861, when the Civil War killed the understanding of the United States as a voluntary union and facilitated her transformation into an international empire.

Was it in 1794, when the US government under the fledgling Constitution deployed an army against its own citizens, many of whom were Revolutionary War veterans--for protesting a tax similar to those they'd rebelled against Britain over?

Was it in 1789, when that same Constitution based not on eternal truth but on worldly compromise, took effect?

Taking a long view of history shows that America's death was not a single, violent event. It was the work of slow poison corroding the national fabric over years, even centuries.

And the poison was baked into the cake from the start--at least from the start of the United States as a political entity.

Consider freedom of speech, which was devised by practitioners of Enlightenment realpolitik to hoodwink Christians into unilaterally disarming themselves.

What we're seeing are the inevitable wages of Liberalism. A political system based on an attempt to replace absolute good with absolute freedom can last a while in a society with a largely homogeneous demographic, cultural, and religious makeup. We have not inhabited such a society for a while.

There is no putting Humpty Dumpty back together. Nor should we want to. Recreating America ca. 1955 would eventually land us right back in Clown World.

Providence will soon give us the chance to start again and avoid the mistakes of the past. We can build a new, sane order founded on immutable truth. But first enough of us must let go of the homeland where we grew up, and which is just as lost as Atlantis.

If we let go of the past, we can build a future where the rhythm of life harmonizes with human nature, where the state and the market exist to serve man, and where the common good is upheld.

The last black pill has turned out to be the ultimate white pill after all.

And a vital first step is not giving money to people who hate you!
Don't Give Money to People Who Hate You - Brian Niemeier